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Welcome to this Week in Palestine, a service of the International Middle East Media Center, www.imemc.org, for March 5th to 11th 2011.
Fatah rejects a proposed initiative for reconciliation by Hamas, who clearly announced that unity comes before elections, meanwhile Israeli military forces demolish a Palestinian village for the 21st time, these stories and more coming up, stay tuned. Nonviolence Lets us begin our weekly report as usual with the nonviolent activities in West Bank with IMEMC’s Jeany Massad
This week’s anti wall protests were organized in the villages of Bil’in, Nil’in and an-Nabi Saleh, in central West Bank, as well as al-Ma’sara in the south. Two persons were arrested and many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In an-Nabi Saleh, soldiers arrested two international supporters as they attacked the weekly protest. Villagers and their supporters marched after midday prayers, but soldiers prevented them from leaving the village, using tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets to force them back.
Later on, Israeli troops stormed the village, took over a number of homes and arrested the two international supporters and took them away. Soldiers also tried to arrest a local child but village women managed to de-arrest him. This week’s action ended in clashes between local youth and the Israeli military. No injuries were reported.
In the nearby village of Bil’in, international and Israeli supporters joined the villagers after midday prayers and marched up to the gate of the wall separating villagers from their land.
Soldiers stationed at the gate attacked people with tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets. Soldiers also sprayed the protesters with blue-color chemical, known as the ‘skunk spray’. Many were treated for the effects of tear gas inhalation.
In the village of Nil’in, also central West Bank, protestors reached the gate of the wall separating local farmers from this land. The protest ended without clashes between the army and residents.
In al-Ma’sara village, in the southern West Bank, Israeli troops stopped the weekly protest from leaving the village. Protestors wanted to reach the lands taken by the army to build the wall, but the Israeli soldiers stationed at the edge of the village used tear gas to force people back. Many were treated for the effect of tear gas inhalation.
For IMEMC.org this is Ramona M.
Political British Foreign Minister, William Hague, criticized the Islamist Hamas party’s refusal to go for elections by September, called for by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Meanwhile, the ruling Hamas party in Gaza launched a new initiative for reconciliation with Fatah, followed a Hamas’s cabinet reshuffle. IMEMC’s Rami Al-Meghari has more
Hague considers Hamas’s rejection as further hardening for the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories. He agreed, during a meeting with Abbas in London, with Abbas’s call for elections by September of this year.
President Abbas told his host this week that he welcomes all Palestinian parties, including his Fatah party and the Islamist Movement of Hamas, to general presidential and legislative elections that would put an end to current division between the two major parties.
Hamas had contended that a national unity deal should come first and that elections without unity can not be worked out. Hamas’ term in legislative seats as well as Abbas’s tenure as president of the Palestinian Authority came to an end last year.
Meanwhile, Hamas declared a new initiative for dialogue with Fatah party that would end division. Yet, the Fatah party in Gaza and some other PLO-linked factions rejected the initiative as nothing new. Hamas has dismissed an Egyptian-produced reconciliation paper, to which Fatah had agreed.
Ashraf Jum’a is a Fatah political leader in Gaza. He told IMEMC that his party was not invited to a recent factional meeting, called for by Hamas, and that the party was not informed of Hamas’s new initiative, for unity restoration.
Actuality ‘In Arabic’.
‘We have made clear since the very beginning that the Egyptian-produced paper for conciliation can be a framework for a genuine dialogue that would end the division, without conditions or reservations’
Meanwhile, Hamas announced a cabinet reshuffle, Thursday. The move is seen by many as an effort to quell possible anti-government sentiment that led to political upheaval in the region. Hamas says its new cabinet includes its first female minister and is dedicated to rearranging internal Palestinian affairs. Hamas also appointed a new foreign minister – it’s first since taking power 4 years ago.
Dr. Mokhaimar Abu Se’da is a Gaza-based political analyst.
‘It seems to me that the political divide is going to continue and it doesn’t seem there are great efforts whether from the Palestinians themselves or from the Arab league which is busy in what is going on in the region now. I do not think that any initiative would put an end to the political divide in the foreseeable future.’
On the Palestinian-Israeli peace process, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said Palestinian demands from Israel have gotten momentum worldwide and international support for an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, has been growing.
A deputy for Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, expressed concern over such a growing support, suggesting a counter Israeli campaign worldwide. Israel continues to dismiss international calls to stop illegal settlement buildings on occupied Palestinians territories including East Jerusalem.
Rami Almeghari. IMEMC.org, Gaza.
West Bank and Gaza Israeli assaults on West Bank communities escalate in several parts of the West Bank, the details with IMEMC’s Circarre Parrhesia
This week the northern West Bank district of Nablus came under repeated attack from both the Israeli military and settlers in the region, on Monday.
The Israeli Army invaded Kharbet Tana in the eastern part of Nablus and confiscated tanks of water belonging to civilians. These were used to provide drinking water for both residents and animals. The village of Khirbet Tana has been demolished six times.
Also On Monday, a large group of armed Israeli settlers invaded Qusra village and began uprooting olive trees, throwing stones and firing live ammunition at Palestinian farmers. Young Palestinian threw stones at the settlers, and, in response, the Israeli army attacked the youth with live ammunition, injuring ten, three seriously.
Furthermore, settlers shot and injured three Palestinians in as-Sawiya village.
On Wednesday, the military also invaded al-Bathan village, north of Nablus, and inspected houses
In the village of Barta’a al-Sharqiyya, which is isolated behind the wall south west of the city of Jenin, eight demolition orders were issued to Palestinians by Israeli authorities on Monday evening.
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday, several villages east of Jenin. Eight Palestinians were detained.
In the village of Husan, west of Bethlehem, the Israeli military arrested five Palestinians, in a pre-dawn raid on Thursday.
The Bedouin village of al-Arakib in Israel’s Negev, was demolished again by Israeli forces for 21st time. this week Four huts, which were desert used for village meetings, were demolished. When the demolitions first began, villagers and volunteers would attempt to rebuild homes immediately afterwards.
More recently, Israeli authorities have removed the remains of homes, rendering reconstruction all but impossible. Today, the villagers live in temporary structures in the village cemetery
The Israeli state attorney has recently announced plans to fine the villagers over NIS 1million for the cost of demolishing their homes.
Finally, in East Jerusalem, Israeli forces raided homes in the neighborhood of Silwan, on Wednesday at dawn, and arrested four youths, aged from 16 years old to 18. All face charges of throwing stones.
For imemc.org this is Circarre Parrhesia
And that was just some of the news from this week in Palestine, for more updates; please visit our website at www.imemc.org. Thank you for joining us from occupied Bethlehem, This report has been brought to you by Husam Qassis and George Rishmawi